How Far Do You Have To Go For a Distraction-free Workflow?

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“My computer is what I call a productive mess. I have two Inboxes opened in two different browsers at this very moment, among several other websites, my cloud, my word processor and Skype. I Cmd+Tab through windows and life, jumping from one issue to another. I do my best in trying to keep up, but honestly, it doesn’t always work out”, I used to say. Sounds familiar? Keep reading then.

What I craved for was flow, as psychologists call it. It’s that state of mind in which someone is fully immersed in an activity, fully involved and focused, really enjoying the creative process they are part of. It’s the opposite of the constant do-this-stop-do-that-other-thing many of us fight against every day.

Developers and distraction pains

Interruption is to a developer what kryptonite is to Superman, Derek from The Tomorrow Lab wrote, as the job needs a lot of concentration. “A huge amount of what a developer is doing is in their head,” he says.

“As we write code we need to keep a mental model of how parts of the application that have already been written and are yet to be written interact with the part that we are writing at that moment. We need to have a solid picture of exactly how the code is working as a whole and maintain that picture.”

A large chunk of the daily interruptions are email related, Derek’s article says, and advises developers to create an environment that bans discontinuance.

33% more time to complete a task

Loughborough University in England agrees with The Tomorrow Lab. “With tasks taking up to a third longer, bad email management can have a significant impact on workforce productivity,” says Dr Tom Jackson, aka ‘Dr Email’ for his thorough studies in this area.

“Most employees have their email application set-up to check for new email every 5 minutes. This means if an employee has an email every 5 minutes they only have 2 window before the next interruption,” Dr Jackson writes on his website. He’s been studying email since 1998.

Even more interruptions occur when a professional expects an important message. “They engage in strategies to ensure that the email is received as expediently as possible (extra checking, encouraging social partners to respond quickly, etc.),” researchers at the School of Human Sciences, University of Surrey, UK, found.

Only 32% of the participants in their study ignored email completely while under a deadline, whereas 43% of the subjects continued to check their Inbox regardless of more important tasks.

Where Quandora and Slack cut in

The two tools have a common goal: to help you with email burden. Both products aim to reduce your Inbox and support you in working smarter rather than harder. For Stewart Butterfield, the founder of Slack, it’s been four and a half years since he sent his last mail to colleagues.

Slack is a messaging tool that helps group communication. Its interface resembles that of a chat room and there is a search engine that helps you find the content you need. With Slack, you have open channels for projects, teams and topics. Besides posting messages, you can also upload images and videos. It integrates with products like Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive, and of course with Quandora.

Quandora is an easy to use Q&A platform. It supports teams and companies with facilitating the overall learning experience. When you’re confronting with a specific problem, you simply ask the question and someone in your team answers back, thus accelerating the access to the experts inside your company and the distribution of relevant content. Relevant content that’s organized in searchable knowledge bases.

Learning and communicating can be fast and fun in the digital workplace. Forget about the shoulder-tapping practices, email lists, reinventing the wheel situations and the loss of knowledge due to personnel migration and enjoy the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Still wondering how far you have to go for a distraction-free workflow? Try as far as and 🙂

Happy Knowledge Sharing!

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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